Orano Submits HALEU Recommendations and Expert Perspective to the Department of Energy

RFI response highlights two primary challenges: development of flexible enrichment and deconversion technology, and HALEU demand certainty.

BETHESDA, Md., March 11, 2022 – Orano USA recently submitted a detailed response to the 21 questions in the Department of Energy’s “Request for Information (RFI) Regarding Planning for Establishment of a Program to Support the Availability of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) for Civilian Domestic Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Use.”

Orano’s provided content and recommendations are based on the company’s six decades of experience operating its uranium conversion and enrichment facilities in France and providing nuclear material transportation packaging and services for international customers.

As detailed in the RFI response, a successful DOE approach will ensure that future HALEU fuel production is available when needed, provided in the variety of physical forms required by different reactor designs, and commercially cost-competitive.

The challenges to achieving this sustainable HALEU production are primarily centered on two concerns: 1) The development of conversion and enrichment technology that is both reliable and proven in operation, and 2) Addressing commercial investment risk by ensuring steady demand for a sufficient amount of HALEU production.

Driving these concerns is the potential situation where investors are reluctant to put money into advanced reactor construction without an established fuel supply, and fuel suppliers are equally unwilling to license and construct the necessary enrichment and deconversion capabilities until they have received commercial commitments that guarantee a certain volume of demand.

Orano’s assessment shows that the single most important factor enabling success is a firm and meaningful HALEU quantity commitment by DOE.

In the design of the public-private partnerships for HALEU production, Orano’s RFI response showed how technology risk should be borne primarily by industry in alignment with existing commercial expertise in enrichment, deconversion, packaging, and logistics.

With Orano’s significant market presence and decades of fulfilled contracts for uranium, conversion, and enrichment services in the United States, the company is fully committed to serving the needs of its customers and supporting the development of the advanced nuclear energy industry. As one of the only commercial entities integrated throughout the entire fuel cycle, Orano has the technical expertise to efficiently plan for and support all aspects of a HALEU supply chain, including production, storage, transportation and logistics.

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About Orano
About Orano As a recognized international operator in the field of nuclear materials, the global Orano Group delivers solutions to address present and future global energy and health challenges. Its expertise and mastery of cutting-edge technologies enable Orano to offer its customers high value-added products and services throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Every day, the Orano group’s 16,500 employees draw on their skills, unwavering dedication to safety, and constant quest for innovation with the commitment to develop know-how in the transformation and control of nuclear materials, for the climate and for a healthy and resource-efficient world, now and tomorrow. Orano USA, a regional subsidiary of Orano, is a leading supplier of nuclear fuel materials, used fuel management, decommissioning, decontamination, and radwaste treatment solutions to U.S. commercial and federal customers. Orano USA, through its subsidiary Orano Med in Texas, is developing cancer treatments using targeted radio-immunotherapy, with its first drug currently in FDA-authorized clinical trials.

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